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TIENTSIN RACECOURSE

(For a supplementary page of photos click here)

For a view of modern Tientsin click here

Excellent article by Andrea Klopper

It is known that the British brought racing to China in the 1800's and more particularly Tientsin, and whilst the Chinese people fully embraced racing and the gambling that accompanied it, the Chinese Government were never huge fans.
On the 9th June 1900 Peking Racecourse was totally destroyed by the 'Boxers'. By 5th July of that same year Japanese soldiers occupied the racecourse and allowed Allied forces to blow up the Chinese Hsiku Arsenal, which had a telling influence during the 'Boxer' uprising.
In 1939 it is well documented that there was a significant flood which surrounded the Racecourse Road and engulfed the Racecourse.
I am very grateful to George Knowles for the 4 pictures shown above of Tientsin Racecourse. George has a long association with Tientsin and has managed to provide a picture of his grandfather, George Stanley Knowles, playing polo in the city in 1904. The racecourse pictures have a huge historical significance.
I am grateful to Charlotte Shalgosky who has recently joined a Chinese company in Tianjin where she is promoting Polo in the city. The Metropolitan Polo Club is beginning to gain prominence around the globe.

The maps above and below date from 1946 and indicate that Tientsin(Tianjin) had two distinct racecourses. The left hand one is of the Chinese racecourse, whilst the right hand one was the 'foreigners' racecourse. It is thought that evidence of the grandstands still exist to this day.
Mrs Kirkpatrick at Tientsin Racecourse accompanied by an American friend

I am grateful to Vince Hinde for the scan of the rare Members badge from the course:-

I am grateful to Bruce Easton who writes,"My great grandfather, Guslav Detring, built the Tientsin Race Club with his son-in-law Constantin vov Hanneken in the late 19th century. He had a villa, Nielbelheim, overlooking the racecourse. Furthermore, my grandfather John Kirkpatrick raced horses at the course and married my grandmother Gisela Detring at Tientsin in 1914."
Major Kirkpatrick at Tientsin Racecourse A Gustav Detring horse racing at Tientsin Racecourse
Gustav Detring who built Tientsin Race Club The picture above shows Major Kirkpatrick and his wife Gisela Detring at Tientsin Racecourse, whilst the 15 photos shown below celebrate some of their many winners at the historic racecourse.
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I am grateful to Philip Paradissis, son of John Elias Paradissis, for the scan of the rare Tientsin Members badge shown above. John Elias Paradissis was born in Smyrna, Turkey on 27th June 1895, and in the 1930s and 1940s ran the Oriental Bookstore in Tientsin. His passion was Chinese Art Ivory and he published the definitive work on the subject, 'Chinese Art Ivory' written by Barry Eastman. Paradissis' first marriage to Penelope Hadjiry produced a son, Philip, on 8th August 1944, but his first wife, and Philip’s mother, died in Tientsin on 17th August 1944, only 9 days after Philip's birth, aged just 35 and was buried in the cemetery on land where the former Tientsin Racecourse was located. On 3rd February 1946 John married Tatiana Shastovsky; she and Philip travelled to St Petersburg, Florida USA, arriving on 14th June 1948. It was to be a further 6 years before John joined them in 1954 and the family settled in Seattle, John working as a bookkeeper. John died in Los Angeles on 19th March 1992, and Tatiana died on 16th September 1997. Philip, who in September 2022 was aged 78 and still lives in Seattle, possesses his father's Tientsin Members badge and believes John and Penelope were frequent racegoers.

If you have badges, racecards, pictures of the racecourse or further details about the course, including your memories, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com